Capture the Flag, the Hacker edition!

At this years DefCon, there was a Capture the Flag competition... Only this incarnation of Capture The Flag, the brainchild of a Seattle group of high-minded security geeks known as the GhettoHackers, pits rival hacking groups against each other in a game of corporate espionage.

Each group has to maintain its own server while attempting to crash or take control of other teams' servers. GhettoHackers made the game tougher by granting points only when a team's own server was up and running. In addition, groups had to provide certain services -- such as e-mail, Web access and instant messaging -- but the GhettoHackers didn't tell the teams which ones. Of course, the officials did provide teams with a default (one that is insecure) installation of an older Linux distribution that would satisfy the requirements, but that would be hacker bait if used without modification.

Each team earned points during the weekend event by keeping its server able to answer any data queries sent by the administrators. They also scored if, while their system was up and running, they took control of another server.

During the game, the teams sat at eight tables arranged in a circle, each known by a color and a fictitious corporate name using a variation on that color: Weiss Labs for the white team, Rouge Group for red, Midori Consulting for green and Azul Security Systems for blue. Network cables suspended from the ceiling resembled the wire ribbing of an umbrella and connected the hackers to each other, but also separated them from the Internet.

Points were also lost to some other, non-hacking events: Teams could, for instance, Dumpster-dive or pick a locked safe. In addition, a teams had to undergo the embarrassment of a mock Business Software Alliance audit, in which referees reviewed their systems for any signs of unlicensed--and unsanctioned--software.

Germany's Chaos Computer Club, playing as the yellow team's Amarelo Industries, took an early lead on Friday, but was supplanted by Midori on Saturday. Then Weiss Labs and Orange Team Security were neck and neck through most of Sunday. With five minutes left to go, Orange took over the lead position in the stock market.

X30n, leader of the orange team, said that a three-day hacking contest doesn't really come close to "true" hacking. "But I'm really impressed with the design." he said.

News source: CNet News.com

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